Some Old Devon Churches
By J. Stabb
London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)
Transcribed and edited by Dr Roger Peters
Full text available at
Between 1908 and 1916, John Stabb, an ecclesiologist and photographer who lived in Torquay, published three volumes of Some Old Devon Churches and one of Devon Church Antiquities. A projected second volume of the latter, regarded by Stabb himself as a complement to the former, did not materialize because of his untimely death on August 2nd 1917, aged 52. Collectively, Stabb's four volumes present descriptions of 261 Devon churches and their antiquities.
BRIDGERULE. St. Bridget. The church [plate 34a] consists of chancel, nave, south aisle, north chapel fitted up as a Lady Chapel, south porch, and west tower with five bells. The reredos is a fine piece of modern oak carving, the central panel represents out Lord appearing to Mary Magdalene in the Garden, and on each side are panels with angels. The roof of the chancel has carved bosses, and there are figures of angels on the wall plates. There is a piscina on the south side of the chancel and a credence recess on the north side. There are three marble tablets in memory of members of the Kingdon family bearing the inscription:-
Sacred to the memory
of John Kingdon
formerly fellow of
Exeter College Oxford
40 years Vicar of this
Parish, 27 years Rector of
Pyworthy, a magistrate
of the County of Cornwall
and Devon in each of which
respective situations be acted
with integrity and zeal and
died March 25th 1808, aged 75.
His daughter Griselda was drowned by an inundation at Bridgerule Bridge, June 19th 1786.
There is a modern rood screen of two large bays with six lights on each side, and dwarf iron gates. The rood-beam has three unusual figures with three candlesticks on each side. The lower panels have paintings of the twelve Apostles after the statues of the same in Amiens Cathedral [France]. The font [plate 34b] is of unusual shape, it is formed of one large block of stone. It is not quite circular as the west side is flatter than the east; at the base a piece appears to have been cut out, and at a later period filled in again, possibly at one time it was against a pillar. The west end of the church is fitted up as a baptistery with modern screens. The tower screen has paintings of the Annunciation, the Nativity, and Epiphany. On the two panels to the west are paintings of the Presentation and Christ among the Doctors on the south side, and the Baptism of our Lord and Christ Blessing the Children on the north side. The screens are surmounted by figures of Christ with a little child in His arms, and the angels of Life and Death. There are pictures and carvings hung on the north wall and a Greek icon, a painting of the Nativity on copper. This was saved from a church in the Russian [Crimean] war 1853-54 by a sapper in the Royal Engineers and presented by him to the officer commanding his company, Lieut. Mervin Drake, and given by him to John Somers James by whom it was presented to Bridgerule Church. The oak carvings hung on the wall represent the Annunciation, our Lord's Baptism, Crucifixion and Descent from the Cross.
On the south side of the aisle is a slate tablet with the inscription:-
"My marriage and my funerall
Few months asunder, may cause all
My friends to mourne, none blameth that
Yet Mary song's Magnificat
Mary I. E. Exalted
Removed from this world exalted high
To that pure life of immortality
Blest soule thou art, what means this weeping
The mayden wife she'es not dead but weeping."
On a tablet over the slate slab is the inscription:- In memory of Roger Kingdon of this parish Gent: son of John Kingdon of Eastleigh in the parish of Coleridge in County of Devon gent: obiit 27 November 1778. ætat 74. Also in memory of his Judith Kingdon his wife daughter of John Cory of Holsworthy, mercer, and granddaughter of Samuel Gilbert of Jackbear in this parish Esq: obiit 13 Oct 1780. ætat 70.
The porch has an old oak roof with carved ribs and bosses. Over the entrance is an image niche.
The registers date from 1702.